The Heritage Foundation has awarded its 2015 Salvatori Prize for American Citizenship to the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for their “What Will They Learn” initiative, which aims to promote rigorous academic standards in higher education.
“What ACTA did—and what earned them the Salvatori Prize—is to find a way to circumvent the tenured professors and complacent administrators who have no qualms about charging students 50 grand a year for a do-it-yourself curriculum,” said David Azerrad, director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics at The Heritage Foundation.
Jim DeMint, a former U.S. senator and the president of The Heritage Foundation, praised the organization.
“It’s critically important that the next generation be ready for productive careers and informed citizenship in these challenging times,” said DeMint. “The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is working tirelessly to ensure that tomorrow’s leaders graduate from college with the skills, knowledge, judgment and character on which our nation’s future so greatly depends.”
The Council evaluated the curriculums of almost 1,100 American colleges and universities, public and private, without regard for the school’s “prestige or wealth or reputation.” Their goal was to make the information “easily available to college-bound students, parents, high school guidance counselors and higher education policymakers.”
“What are all students required to study in order to earn a given school’s diploma? How will that institution’s faculty and administration guide a young person to acquire the fundamental tools of success in career and community life?” American Council of Trustees and Alumni asked.
Heritage’s Azerrad praised the Council’s dedication to studying the requirements of each institution in “seven core subjects: English composition, literature, foreign language, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics and science.”
Azerrad commended American Council of Trustees and Alumni for their creation of a national database of 18,000 trustees, enabling students, parents and educators to send them the information directly. Some of the trustees are now working with the Council to improve the core requirements at their school.
American Council of Trustees and Alumni, said Azerrad, found a way to give trustees the knowledge they need to enact real change.
The Heritage Foundation awards the Salvatori Prize annually to an individual, group or organization who promote the principles and virtues of the American Founding, and are examples of independent and entrepreneurial citizenship.
The award is named for Henry Salvatori, an entrepreneur and philanthropist. Salvatori immigrated to the United States from Italy during his childhood and went on to found the Western Geophysical Company and become a conservative activist.
In 2014, the Salvatori Prize was awarded to the Green and the Hahn families, who own Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, who fought in court Obamacare’s so-called “HHS mandate” requiring that they provide abortifacient drugs in employee health care plans.
Past recipients of the Salvatori Prize also include historian David McCullough, the Mount Vernon Ladies Association and neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
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